Sunday, 24 October 2010

Will the planet cope if everyone had a Long Life?

If life expectancy increases due to optimal nutrition and widespread access to regenerative medicine solutions to the disabilities and diseases of aging, will the UK and the world be able to cope with the increasing population?

Optimum Population Trust "Ageing populations and hidden unemployment by Rosamund McDougall" makes interesting reading.

Run the England and Wales Population estimate 1961-2083: In 1961 population was 46.1M and 1.3% were 80 years or over. By 2000 our population had risen to 52.1M with 2.2% 80 or over. By 2050 the population may be 69.2M with 4% 80 or over and by 2080 the population could be 77.3M with 4.8% 80 or over (source: Office for National Statistics). But what would the proportions of over 80s be if  regenerative medicine solutions to the disabilities and diseases of aging really took effect?

Look at UK population (below) and hear the One Planet radio programme on The Population Debate.

What do you think will be the impact of increasing longevity on world population?

Life expectancy
Life expectancy continues to rise

Life expectancy at birth, UK, from period life tables, 1980-82 to 2007-09
Life expectancy at birth, UK, from period life tables, 1980-82 to 2007-09

Life expectancy at birth in the UK has reached its highest level on record for both males and females. A newborn baby boy could expect to live 77.7 years and a newborn baby girl 81.9 years if mortality rates remain the same as they were in 2007–09.

Females continue to live longer than males, but the gap has been closing. Although both sexes have shown annual improvements in life expectancy at birth, over the past 27 years the gap has narrowed from 6.0 years to 4.2 years. Based on mortality rates in 1980–82, 26 per cent of newborn males would die before age 65, but this had reduced to 15 per cent based on 2007–09 rates. The equivalent figures for newborn females were 16 per cent in 1980–82 and 10 per cent in 2007–09.

Life expectancy at age 65 – the number of further years someone reaching 65 in 2007–09 could expect to live – is also higher for women than for men. Based on 2007–09 mortality rates, a man aged 65 could expect to live another 17.6 years, and a woman aged 65 another 20.2 years.

The life expectancy figures above make no allowance for future changes in mortality. Taking into account the continued improvements in mortality assumed in the 2008-based principal population projections, life expectancy at birth for those born in 2009 is projected to be 88.7 years for males and 92.3 years for females. Similarly, life expectancy for those aged 65 in 2009 is projected to be 21.1 years for males and 23.8 years for females.

Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS), Published on 30 September 2010 at 9:30 am

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